Posts Tagged ‘eigerlab’


Greenlee’s Teams Utilized all our Region’s Business Incubator had to Offer

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

CTF-200_app21_hrBecause EIGERlab, our region’s business incubator, has many assets to assist both startups and established enterprises, Greenlee once again elected to assign a group of engineers to work off site and execute their new project in record time. The decision paid off. After taking advantage of EIGERlab’s Center for Product Development, video conferencing capabilities, and both the office and lite industrial spaces, Greenlee was able to procure, build, test and put the finishing touches on  their new machine, the CTF-200 Cable Tray Feeder (CTF-200), in approximately five months.

This is the second “skunkworks” type project Greenlee has completed at EIGERlab. “After realizing Greenlee was short on space and considering the positive results we realized on our first project, it was a no-brainer to return to EIGERlab,” said Dan Marben, electrical engineer with Greenlee. When they were assigned to execute the project at EIGERlab, Greenlee’s management team knew the group aligned with the project could remain fully focused on the task at hand without the typical day-to-day operational distractions. With the close proximity of Greenlee’s main headquarters to EIGERlab, Greenlee’s management had the ability to regularly check on the team’s progress.

Founded in 1862, Greenlee builds on over 150 years of customer-driven innovation. From woodworking, barrel-making, and machine tool beginnings to the present day selection of Hand Tools, Knockouts, Wire and Cable Fishing/Pulling/Termination, Bending, Electronic Test and Measurement, and other solutions.  This trend continues with the creation of the CTF-200, which met two important goals: a quick ROI coupled with safe operations. Keeping human capital safe was one of the key features regarding the CTF-200. Because you don’t have a human pulling on a rope, it’s designed to not only be safer way to move cable, but mounts quickly saving precious set up time, along with another distinguishing feature, only one person is needed to operate it. “Regarding ROI, the turnaround is quick, Marben shared. Depending upon how long and intricate the job is, the CTF-200 could pay for itself during the first assignment.”

Mike Cobert, EIGERlab’s assistant director who oversees the Center for Product Development, applauds Greenlee for continuing to be an innovative company producing state-of-the-art equipment. “It was a pleasure working with both of Greenlee’s teams—we were happy to assist them in any way. We take pride in working with start-ups and seasoned entities such as Greenlee to deliver a complete product development package versus just 3D printing,” stated Cobert.

Click here to view the CTF-200 in action.

EIGERlab assists NIU’s mechanism design and analysis class students

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Students in a mechanism design and analysis class are creating a six-legged walking mechanism machine using 3-D printing.

John Seper, senior mechanical engineering major, said teams of students spent at least two months completing their machine’s design. Seper’s team then contacted EIGERlab, which will complete the 3-D printed mechanism Friday or Monday.

The assignment is due the Tuesday after Thanksgiving break and the six groups of four to five students will compete for grades on their robots.

Click here for the complete article.

Click here to view the six-legged walking mechanism machine

Rockford Spectrum students test waters in ‘Shark Tank’ competition

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

ROCKFORD — A parkour gym, a 50-meter pool, a murder mystery museum, a zombie survival park and an international market.

The list reads like notes from a tourism brainstorming session, but the ideas actually were hatched by a group of sixth-graders at Spectrum Progressive School as part of their “Bring it to Rockford” competition.

The students modeled their competition after the popular television show “Shark Tank,” during which entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel of celebrity investors.

One by one, the school’s sixth-graders entered and exited “the shark tank” — a small table set up in front of the judges. They’d give their pitch, answer a few questions and sit down.

Click here to for the complete article.

Thank you to EIGERlab’s Center for Product Development: “Now I can salute at Girl Scouts!”

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Raegan_Reynolds_two upRaegan_Reynolds_two upRaegan_Reynolds_two upFNot unlike other precocious first graders, Raegan Reynolds has a smile that lights up a room with her mesmerizing blue eyes. What makes Raegan ever so slightly different from her peers is her birth defect—her right hand did not fully develop.

Raegan’s parents, Katie and Scott, have been pursuing all avenues in order to help Raegan with her challenge. “Insurance pays for only one prosthetic over the course of a lifetime, and we agreed that decision should be made by Raegan when she is an adult,” Katie said. After learning how Boylan assisted other children with 3D printed prosthesis, Raegan’s Aunt Beth contacted them to see if they could assist Raegan. Much to the family’s dismay, they learned that Boylan could not. Beth then Googled 3D printing and discovered that it is a service offered locally at the EIGERlab.

After searching for a solution for over two years, Katie and Scott are elated for their daughter, and are already noticing her confidence-level growing. The Highland Elementary School first grader chose her prosthetic to be printed in her school colors. Raegan shared, “Other little kids will think my new hand is awesome!”

EIGERlab’s Assistant Director, Mike Cobert stated, “It is always exciting and challenging to help companies solve problems with their innovative products. However, it is not nearly as rewarding as the smile on Raegan’s face when she put her new additive manufactured [3D printed] hand on for the first time. It is priceless!”

New Product Release, Rockford’s Own sockTABs

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014


Award-winning Entrepreneur Unveils Simple Solution to Everyday Household Problem

Rockford, IL (October 24, 2014) – The Burress family, creator of the original sockTABs ™, will announce the formal release of their ingenious pairing device at a press conference to be held at EIGERlab on Wednesday, October 29, at 10 a.m.

American-made sockTABs provide a simple solution to an everyday household problem: the infamous “sock monster!”

Tracie is proud to share that she’s completed the second round of ABC’s Shark Tank. To impress the Shark Tank judges—knock their socks off, so to speak—she is now counting on buyers in the Rockford Region to support this product with great sales volume. She’d love to bring positive, national exposure to Rockford while obtaining capital to grow. sockTABs are currently available for purchase at b jones Boutique, Crimson Ridge, Porch, Tom Harmer and; retail price, just $9.99 for 24 tabs. Currently, negotiations are underway with major retailers in the region—expect to announce partnership in the near future. The tabs not only pair socks but also serve as a stylish fashion accessory, like cufflinks for socks.

Click here for the complete press release.

EIGERlab’s August 2014 Newsletter | No Risk, No Reward, 2014 Inventor’s Convention

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Adrian Vasquez and George Foreman at the 2014 INPEX Convention

Adrian Vasquez and George Foreman at the 2014 INPEX Convention

After Adrian Vasquez, inventor of the NZ3 hair product, won second place in the 2013FastPitch Competition, he set his sights on a higher prize: being accepted to participate in the Invention and New Product Exposition (INPEX)-the world’s largest invention trade show. INPEX provides a forum for inventors to exhibit their inventions and pitch their ideas with companies interested in licensing, marketing and manufacturing their new products.

Since he met so many key individuals, including representatives from QVC, SkyMall Magazine, a broker in the beauty industry who is interested in handling his products exclusively, and George Foreman of George Foreman Cooking Products, Adrian shared, “It was worth every mile.”

For the complete newsletter, click here.

FastPitch Competition winner chosen for INPEX Inventor’s Convention: No Risk, No Reward

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Adrian Vasquez and George Foreman at the 2014 INPEX Convention

Adrian Vasquez and George Foreman at the 2014 INPEX Convention

After Adrian Vasquez, inventor of the NZ3 hair product, won second place in the 2013 FastPitch Competition, he set his sights on a higher prize: being accepted to participate in the Invention and New Product Exposition (INPEX)—the world’s largest invention tradeshow. INPEX provides a forum for inventors to exhibit their inventions and pitch their ideas with companies interested in licensing, marketing and manufacturing their new products.

Since he met so many key individuals, including representatives from QVC, SkyMall Magazine, a broker in the beauty industry who is interested in handling his products exclusively, and George Foreman of George Foreman Cooking Products, Adrian shared, “It was worth every mile.”

Another accomplishment resulting from his participation is being chosen as one of 35—from a total of 400 who applied—to move to step two with QVC this September in Las Vegas. “It’s a huge compliment to be included in such an exclusive group. QVC representatives shared many tips and clues to move my business forward, such as the importance of having two applicable product markets. In regard to the NZ3, the obvious market is haircare, but the second, which I had not considered, is the pet market—a $55.7 billion dollar industry in 2013,” Adrian explained.

Adrian, who is both an inventor and owner of Totally You Hair Salon, is thankful to the staff at EIGERlab’s Center for Product Development, his local manufacturer and everyone who assisted him along his entrepreneurial journey. He stated, “As an entrepreneur and inventor, you never stop learning!”

EIGERlab’s April 2014 Newsletter: EIGERlab’s IT Roundtable instrumental in Rockford becoming 35th Code for America Brigade City | Buy disruptive technology now

Monday, March 31st, 2014

EIGERlab’s current newsletter includes entrepreneurial stories and events, information on EIGERlab’s TechWorks FastTrack Workforce Training and Center for Product Development, the latest from both Rock Valley College’s Illinois Small Business Development Center and Procurement Technical Assistance Center, open positions and more!

Lead story: EIGERlab‘s IT Roundtable instrumental in Rockford becoming 35th Code for America Brigade City

Code for America Brigade (CfA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that attempts to bridge the tech gap between private and public sectors. Government sector technology is usually old and slow; sometimes 30 years old. The CfA’s goal is to bridge the gap.

According to Christopher Whitaker with CfA, “Rockford has the three key things needed to be a Brigade or civically-innovative city. First necessity is a city government that is open to sharing open data, which is the fuel for innovation; fuels transparency and business. Second is a space to meet, collaborate and hold events; EIGERlab, where the first Open Tech Challenge was held). And last, a technology community with the ability to take on the big challenges that face cities.”

Civically-minded apps that have been created:

Adopt-a-hydrant (Boston, MA) allows citizens to claim responsibility for shoveling out fire hydrants after heavy snowfall.

Adopt-a-Siren (Honolulu, HI) allows citizens to adopt a tsunami siren in their neighborhood.

Adopt-a-Sidewalk (Chicago, IL) allows citizens to claim responsibility for shoveling out throughout the winter or ask for help if they need a hand.

Dan Cataldi is pleased with the outcome of EIGERlab’s Information Technology (IT) Roundtable’s efforts. Dan shared, “Our community will now have the ability to collaborate and interact with the other 34 Brigade cities to brainstorm, create new initiatives and receive regional, national and now international exposure as a Brigade city. We are starting to create a brand which was one of the IT Roundtable’s objectives.”

Among the group’s newest interested parties is Chris Nwakalo. Nwakalo was born in Boston, then moved to Beloit, Wis., went to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and now is the chief brand and strategy officer for New Vybe Fitness in Loves Park.

“If you look at the iPhone, it’s changed the world in five years,” Nwakalo said. “When I went to Whitewater, I was surprised at the negative feelings towards Beloit. I hear a lot of the same things about Rockford. I want to learn more about Rockford’s issues and how we can use technology to address them.” Alex Gary, “EIGERlab launching Code for America Brigade in Rockford” Rockford Register Star, March 27, 2014

Jen Hall, who helps facilitate the IT Roundtable for the EIGERlab, said the brigade will begin by meeting at 9 a.m. every second Saturday of the month at EIGERlab, 605 Fulton Ave. The brigade is using to schedule more events under the group name “Code for Rockford.” For more information, contact Jen; or (815) 975-0466.

See the “EIGERlab in the News” section below for the media’s coverage of the March 27 press conference.

Click below to open the PDF.


Local ‘Shark Tank’ may be national springboard for Rockton woman’s RoomTagz business

Monday, March 17th, 2014

ROCKTON — AnnDee Nimmer was near tears minutes before she was to pitch her new business, RoomTagz, to a panel of business women.

Public speaking struck the Rockton woman as a curious fear. Before 2013, she had spent 20 years speaking daily to first-graders as a teacher for the Rockton School District.

“There’s a big difference.” Nimmer said. “Those are kids and you are trying to make the learning experience enjoyable — and they don’t judge you.”

Nimmer was one of seven women Feb. 19 to pitch their businesses during a Women’s Shark Tank Competition hosted by Enactus Rockford of Rock Valley College. Enactus is a club of aspiring business students that used to be called SIFE, for Students in Free Enterprise. The group received a grant from Wal-Mart that had to be used to benefit women in business.

So Enactus set up a competition based on “Shark Tank,” a TV show that appears at 8 p.m. Fridays on ABC. Launched in 2009 by the same team that created “Survivor,” the reality show features business owners trying to persuade a panel of judges to invest in them.

The February competition appears to be the first time a local group has tried to emulate the ABC show. Nimmer shouldn’t have worried. The panel of judges chose her business concept over the other six.

Sherry Pritz, marketing coordinator of Rockford’s EIGERlab, said the fact that Nimmer had competed in the group’s FastPitch competition in 2013 helped. Nimmer was a finalist in the annual challenge where entrepreneurs have one minute to sell their idea.

“She was very polished and she talked about a lot of the places she’s gone to sell her product,” Pritz said. “Her business has a lot of potential.”

Nimmer won $1,000 for taking first place in Shark Tank, “which I definitely need,” she said, plus office space and computer time at the EIGERlab in Rockford.

She’s not sure how much she’ll use the office space. She runs her business out of her home. Instead, she said, she is more excited to be working with the Enactus students as well as the professionals at RVC’s Small Business Development Center because she needs mentors to help her find more customers.

Fifteen years ago, Nimmer said she was frustrated by how difficult it is to find specific rooms in schools because there’s usually nothing to identify them except for room numbers. She created two-sided signs she could hang from the ceiling.

Then in 2012, Nimmer was caught up in the aftermath of The Great Recession.

The Rockton School District, faced with declining enrollment and a flattening of its once rapidly increasing property tax revenues, eliminated 18 certified teaching positions and an assistant principal’s job and reduced the hours of non-certified staff to cut $1.3 million from its budget.

Nimmer was one of the teaching cuts.

With districts all over struggling with the same budget problems, Nimmer needed a new career and decided to try to turn her signs into her livelihood.

Produced by Interstate Graphics of Machesney Park, the custom signs she sells can be hung from a ceiling or attached to a wall. At first, she took out ads in teaching industry magazines. She also contracted a former student, Chris Luttig, to create a website for her. Then she attended some conferences to show off her product.

“I thought teachers were going to be my market, but I found out it was principals,” Nimmer said.

She was extremely happy with her initial year of sales.

Her first was to a principal of Indian Camp Elementary School in Pawhuska, Okla. She now has signs in 39 schools in 21 states. The potential market is huge. As of 2010, there were 132,183 public and private elementary and high schools in the United States.

“When I went to do my taxes I had $53,000 in sales,” she said. “But once I started entering my costs — how much it cost to make and ship the signs and the travel costs to the conferences — I really didn’t make anything.”

Nimmer said she was happy to go from one sale a month to one a week, “but I really need to get to one a day.

That’s where she hopes working with Enactus and the small business development center will get her. And the Shark Tank victory may pay more dividends. This past week Nimmer was contacted by an associate producer of ABC’s “Shark Tank” to discuss the possibility of her appearing on their show.

That, of course, would raise her public speaking fear to a whole new level.

“I’m scared beyond belief, but this isn’t an opportunity/invitation you say no thank you to,” she said.

App for EDEEN Network Coming Soon

Monday, March 10th, 2014

ROCKFORD (WIFR) — Instead of going online to find out information on events we may soon be able to just click on an app.

Saturday web developers and designers met up at EIGERlab to work on creating an app for the EDEEN Network.

The app will let us know about what’s happening right here in our community so we can get more involved.

The work is a continuation of the Open Tech Challenge last fall when the IT experts came up with plans for three apps. This is the first one that will actually be finished.

“Even a company opening a new grand opening, something like that, that they’d be able to get that story out, and that also the successes from events and things happening can be easily shared with anybody who’s interested,” App creator Michael Hopkins, said.

That app will hopefully be up and running soon.

WTVO’s coverage